Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Wed 6 Nov 2013 11:26

3 November 2013 – Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife

Today is Sunday.  We left Ayemonte on Tuesday morning just after high water – Roger had to climb the mast first thing to sort out the tricolor light which wasn’t working.  There was a loose connection arising from the heavy weight of the LED bulb unit.  We arrived here at 12.30pm – a passage time of 4 days and 1 hour.  Very fast.

The passage was very satisfactory – we swung into action and immediately started a four hour watch system. (It’s warm enough to be able to do so.)  Before I left I got four jars of food out of the freezer to eat up en route – 2 curries, a bolognaise, and a chilli.  For lunches we had either soup and a sandwich, or a salad.  A 400g loaf lasts the two of us 2 days.  We both found that with 8 hours of sleep spread over two sessions we could manage the night watches without too much effort to combat drowsiness.  I did 11pm til 3am (notoriously a horrible shift)  and 7am; and Roger did the 7pm and 3am shifts.  I cooked dinner every evening to eat at 6.30pm, so that everything could be finished in the light – the sun set reliably at 7pm (UT+1) and rose at 8am.  Both on the nail.  On the rising of the dawn shift I made myself a pot of earl grey tea whilst Roger slept until 9am; and then we had coffee and either toast or cereal.  After breakfast Roger downloaded the weather forecast and the emails via the iridium satphone; and uploaded our position and sketchy blog.

The wind was a strong NE all the way.  In the middle of Tuesday evening it dropped down to below 15 knots – but most of the time it was between 20 and 30 knots.  From Wednesday evening we had two reefs in the main and an apology for the jib; and were storming along at between 7-8 knots.  Not ideal conditions as the seas were very confused, the boat was corkscrewing amazingly. 

The gear held up less well than the crew.  Roger had rigged a downhaul for the whisker pole and tied it down hard; he blames this for the fact that at the start of day 2 the telescopic end of the pole failed.  He has commissioned Richard Chambers to investigate the interior workings of said pole; and will disassemble it on the pontoon here (once it stops raining.)  We raised the other pole, and Roger managed the downhaul more conservatively, and so we proceeded.  The heavy seas played havoc with the generator exhaust system and the exhaust gases, instead of venting over the stern, exited (with a gurgle and sooty spit) into the cockpit via the cockpit drains.  This could have been a show stopper as the batteries need to be recharged every 24-36 hours.  Roger was anxious and didn’t sleep well – but came up with an excellent solution by wedging shut the drain holes with wooden bungs (carried to wedge into holes in the hull.)  Getting them out again was a bit of a challenge – a vacuum had been established.  But the ersatz solution worked.   On the last morning the winds came in with a sharp veer which caused a crash gybe and the loss of the preventer (entirely my fault of course.)

(6 November) Here is the picture of the failure inside the whisker pole – Forespar not fit for purpose!  Roger has commissioned Wes @catalanza to make a new one out of bronze, rather than plastic.


Marina Lanzarote is, as Signe indicated, a building site, with poor wifi.  The only benefit is that it is extremely cheap – and October through Dec is the peak season for boats in transit.  SV Sila (with whom we came down) made landfall at Puerto Calero: nicer, but I would expect substantially more expensive.  Sila is a very basic boat and has no generator (so therefore has no refridgeration; watermaker, or hot water.  Poor Molly!)  she is operating off windvane steering that doesn’t like going dead downwind.  So they tacked down wind and consequently travelled a lot further than our 596 miles, and was well behind us despite being a 47’ aluminium boat (it’s a Boreal 47.)

Oversight – this hasn’t been uploaded to 6th November.  Lots more news to come…